spicy pear cocktail

Pears are a sometimes-overlooked delicacy. Sweet and refined, with a fragile skin and unique texture, their subtle flavor works with everything from chocolate to cheese. In fact, spiced pears poached in wine are a traditional holiday dessert. Whether you’re throwing a holiday bash or just looking for something fun to do with in-season pears, now’s your moment to try out fresh spiced cocktail recipes. Here are three to suit any taste.

Spiced Pear Martini

From Avenue Restaurant at Long Beach, a recipe that begins with real pear purée.

  • 2 to 3 pears
  • 1/2 ounce spiced rum
  • 1 ounce pear liqueur
  • 2 lemons, squeezed
  • cinnamon and nutmeg for garnish

Peel and core the pears, and cook them gently in simple syrup (equal parts water and sugar) until they soften; then purée them in a blender. Add two ounces of purée to a shaker filled with ice, and pour in the rum, liqueur and lemon juice. Shake well, and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with cinnamon and nutmeg.

Pear and Clove Cocktail

This recipe from Capital Cooking calls for infused vodka, which takes a week or two to be ready. It’s worth the wait — but if you’re in a hurry, try a pear-flavored commercial vodka.

  • 1 cup sliced pears 
  • 10 ounces 360 vodka 
  • 1 tablespoon cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick 
  • 3 ounces of pear liqueur (optional) 
  • 7 ounces of pear juice
  • Splash of lemon juice
  • 1 ounce of cream
  • Garnish:  Pear slice  

Infuse the Pears, vodka and cloves overnight or up to a week. Strain the vodka into a shaker full of ice, and mix it with the other ingredients. Pour into martini glasses. Garnish your drinks with a slice of pear and a dusting of cinnamon.

Pear Olé

From USA Pears’ cocktail book, which is chockfull of amazing recipes. This concoction calls for peppered vodka; if you don’t have it, try adding fresh-ground pepper as a garnish or putting cracked peppercorns in your simple syrup.

  • Half a fresh Bartlett pear, peeled and cored
  • 6 fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1.5 ounces fresh lime juice
  • 1.5 ounces pepper flavored vodka
  • 1.5 ounces cilantro infused simple syrup (see recipe below)

Puree all the ingredients in a blender until smooth, adding ice to reach the temperature and consistency you like. Pour into chilled glasses and garnish with a pear wedge or a sprig of fresh cilantro.

Cilantro Syrup:

One half cup of water
One half cup of granulated sugar
One half cup of fresh cilantro leaves

Bring the sugar and water to boil in a small pot. Remove from heat and add cilantro leaves. Let cool. Strain and chill.

Photo: InterContinental Hong Kong.

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